If special drills, visualization and positive thinking all fail, a player, as a last resort, is asked to change position. In 1984, Dave Engle, then the Twins' catcher, was named to the All-Star team even though he could only lob the ball back to the pitcher when there was a runner on base. Rick Stelmaszek, the Twins' bullpen coach, says, "He got by with it for a while, but what I think really got him was the time Alfredo Griffin timed the lob and went from second to third. Dave really got uptight after that." He spent the next four years with four different teams, playing first base, third base, outfield and—very little—behind the plate.
Murphy went from being a scatter-armed catcher who endangered his pitchers to a five-time Gold Glove winner in the outfield. "I did start to relax in the outfield," Murphy says. "I realized I could go out and throw it 240 feet. You're not trying to pinpoint it, you just try to get it close."
This spring the Rangers decided to turn Fariss, their shortstop of the future, into their second baseman of the future. "I don't like to give up on something," Fariss says. "But lots of people change positions. Ten years later nobody remembers why they moved. But there must have been some reason."
Fariss has no difficulty making the throw from the second base position, so that's where he'll play this season for Triple A Oklahoma City. The Mets will try Sasser in the outfield and third base, and occasionally he'll catch. And Stanley will catch for the Rangers. "I'm going to make errant throws," Stanley said last week while sitting in front of his locker at the Rangers' spring camp in Port Charlotte, Fla. "But I can't let it affect the next one. It's a constant battle." As he spoke, a group of five or six kids played catch just outside the clubhouse door, throwing the ball as if it was the most natural thing in the world.